New Musical Express

15 October 1983

FIRST CUT IS THE SWEETEST

Strawberry Switchblade
London, ICA

The eclectic confines of the ICA's well-organised Pop-Goes-The-Easel Week once again played host to developing talent. In amongst the unlikely mixture of intellectual behemoths and box-cut billies, the polka dots and ribbons of Strawberry Switchblade displayed vibrant promise of things to come.

Beginning with a thumping drum-beat launching into the fast-moving 'Dance', Jill on guitar and Rose on vocals (and occasionally both on both) moved through the powerful opener like they were set to storm the night. Backing up their essentially semi-acoustic sound with an accompaniment of guitar, bass and drums, they managed to broach the traditional twin-girl harmony approach by tempering mellowness with a solid punch.

However, on a night of unfortunate errors, they started to suffer after they began playing the Underground's 'Sunday Morning', a song covered aptly with a sparsity of guitar and an absence of drums.

"This is my big guitar solo so don't laugh if I get it wrong", said Jill, nervously exchanging glances with Rose, as the lead flew out of the amp and the crowd burst out laughing. Recomposed for two excellent songs, 'Another Day' and 'Trees And Flowers', through their powerful performance of the potential single 'Let Her Go', they managed to retain the crowd's attention but just failed to win them over fully.

Bright with optimism, with a solid base of talent to build upon, ultimately they will succeed. Don't be deceived by the ribbons and polka dots, the strawberry glint of the switchblade has yet to fully swipe.

NEIL TAYLOR